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Tuesday, 1 August, 2000, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Philippine bombs kill three
Wounded in a hospital
There has been a spate of bomb attacks in recent months
At least three people have been killed and nearly 40 injured in explosions at a religious carnival and near a cathedral in the southern Philippines.


In the more serious attack, a bomb went off at a crowded festival in Monkayo in Compostela Valley province late on Monday.

Two people were killed outright and a third died in hospital. Another 36 were injured, 12 of whom are in critical condition, reports said.

An hour earlier, a businessman was injured when a grenade exploded near the cathedral in Jolo town.

It was the third grenade blast in less than two weeks on Jolo island, where Muslim Abu Sayyaf extremists are holding 29 hostages.

Rebels

The attackers in both cases escaped and no one has claimed responsibility.

Police said they had not established the motives behind the two blasts, but saw no connection between them.

Monkayo is on the main southern island of Mindanao where government forces are fighting the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Many previous bombings in the southern Philippines have been blamed on MILF, which recently called for Muslims in the country to take part in a jihad or holy war against the armed forces.

But police spokesman Captain Matthew Baccay said he did not think the attack was part of a jihad.

Communists

MILF and the smaller Abu Sayyaf group are fighting for an independent Islamic state in the south of the predominantly Catholic Philippines.

A military spokesman said it was also possible the Monkayo bomb could have been the work of the communist New People's Army (NPA) or someone with "a personal grudge".

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See also:

26 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Philippine grenade attack injures 18
04 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Bomb hits Manila airport
29 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Rebels deny Manila bombings
18 May 00 | Asia-Pacific
Bomb blasts rock Jolo
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